Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 3 of 8 from 1860 edition -online book

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114                    THE QUEEN'S MABIE.
borne childe hearde, searche was made, the childe and the mother were both apprehended, and so were the man and the woman condemned to be hanged in the publieke street of Edinburgh. The punishment was suitable, because the crime was haynous. But yet was not the court purged of whores and whoredoms, which was the fountaine of such enormities: for it was well known that shame hasted marriage betwixt John Sem-pill, called the Dancer, and Mary Levingston, sir-named the Lusty. What bruit the Maries, and the rest of the dancers of the court had, the ballads of that age doe witnesse, which we for modestie's sake omit. Knox's History of the Reformation, p. 373.
" Such," Sir Walter goes on to say, " seems to be the subject of the following ballad, as narrated by the stern apostle of Presbytery. It will readily strike the reader, that the tale has suffered great alterations, as handed down by tradition ; the French waiting wo­man being changed into Mary Hamilton, and the Queen's apothecary into Henry Darnley. Yet this is less surprising, when we recollect, that one of the heaviest of the Queen's complaints against her ill-fated husband, was his infidelity, and that even with her personal attendants."
Satisfactorily as the circumstances of Knox's story may agree with those of the ballads, a coincidence no less striking, and extending even to the name, is pre­sented by an incident which occurred at the court of Peter the Great. " During the reign of the Czar Peter," observes Mr. C. K. Sharpe, " one of his Em­press's attendants, a Miss Hamilton, was executed for the murder of a natural child,—not her first crime in that way, as was suspected; and the Emperor, whose admiration of her beauty did not preserve her life,







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